The English Electric Canberra is a first-generation jet-powered light bomber manufactured in large numbers through the 1950s. It made it’s first flight in 1949 and entered service with the RAF in January 1951.

The Canberra was also somewhat of a record breaker … In 1951 an RAF English Electric Canberra B Mk 2 (serial number WD932) flown by Squadron Leader A. Callard , flew from Aldergrove, Northern Ireland, to Gander, Newfoundland. The flight covered almost 1,800 nautical miles (3,300 km) in 4h 37 m. and was the first non-stop unrefuelled transatlantic-crossing by a jet.
The aircraft was being flown to the U.S. to act as a pattern aircraft for the Martin B-57 Canberra.Follow this link for a Pathe News recording of the record-breaking attempt.

There is a sad ending for this particular record breaking aircraft WD932:
On 21 December 1951, English Electric Canberra B2, USAF 51-17387, ex-RAF WD932, used as pattern aircraft for B-57 Canberra, crashed during a flight from Martin plant at Middle River, Maryland, north of Baltimore. It lost a wing during a 4.8g maneuver at 10,000 feet (3,000 m) over Centerville, Maryland, on the Delmarva Peninsula due to incorrect fuel handling that led to tail heaviness which caused loss of control during the high g maneuvering. Both crewmembers ejected, but one of them was killed when his parachute failed to open.

2 responses to “CANBERRA DOES IT … 1951

  1. Have you see this book by Australian Doug Hurst about the Canberra bomber in the Vietnam war?

  2. Hi there Ian. Haven’t seen the book as yet. I know that over half of them were destroyed in combat but an amazing aircraft notwithstanding with heroic crewmen all.
    All the best

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